Sunday, 9 August 2015

This is not an anti-GMO win


There was a recent retraction of a research paper from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition about the use of the GMO called Golden rice. It was probably a good decision by the journal that the manuscript got retracted, however the reasons behind the retraction do not mean the science is bad and that GMO's are bad. Remarkably, the results of the manuscript still hold and that is that Golden rice is a good food which can alleviate Vitamin A deficiency. This result is good news (and was to be expected) as Golden rice was designed to alleviate Vitamin A deficiency which kills thousands of children every year. As such it is surprising, although not unexpected, that pseudo scientists have been trying to kill the Golden rice project for a long time through the use of anarchist type plots. I mean even if you are a pseudo scientists surely you have to believe that saving lives is a good thing. Of course most of the anti-GMO stance is based on discredited and retracted science so I guess we should not be surprised that they resort to terrorist like tactics.

So you may ask why was the manuscript retracted? It was claimed by Greenpeace that the children used in the study were used as human guinea pigs. These remarks are unfounded as the safety of Golden rice has long been demonstrated with studies in 2006 and 2009 showing no toxicity. Additionally, all the children in this research study got their correct intake of Vitamin A through either a supplement, spinach or the Golden rice. The problem with the study however arose from the fact that some of the consent forms for the children in the study were collected after the trail had already begun. This is an ethics violation and as such the study should be retracted even thought the results are valid.

It is a sad day for science in so much that anti-GMO proponents are sure to use this retraction in a devious way. However, it is good that science is policing itself and making good policies a necessity when it comes to human trials. This is why I hope that by writing about this success yet sad story I can shed some light on pseudo science that is demonstrably harming others.